Under a spreading chestnut-tree
And the muscles of his brawny
Are strong as iron
His hair is crisp
, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village
When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge
And catch the burning sparks that fly
from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears his daughter’s voice,
It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave
And with his haul
, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.